For Such a Time as This

Black and white photo two hands clasping

Solidarity, 1973, part of the exhibition “For such a time as this: Fifty Years of Africana Studies at Williams College,” on view through June in the Schow Gallery, Sawyer Library.

Fifty years ago this April, Williams’ Afro-American student Association occupied Hopkins Hall and presented the college with 15 demands reflecting the needs and experiences of black students. The occupation ended with the association’s leader, Preston Washington ’70, and Williams’ provost, Steve Lewis ’60, presenting an action plan to address students’ concerns. The seeds of today’s Africana studies department were planted in that plan.
Today the work continues, with new concerns and priorities emerging in the effort to make Williams an inclusive campus. Reflecting on the past, present and future of this work, the Africana studies department is commemorating its 50-year presence with events and exhibitions organized around six themes: student activism; the genealogy of Africana studies; the academic impact of the Sterling Brown ’22 Visiting Professorship and Gaius Charles Bolin Fellowship; the 30-year history of the Davis Center; ancestral ties; and considerations of black futurity. See bit.ly/2McfrTx for details and events.